A Santa Cruz bus driver who completed a marathon and ran several 10K races while receiving thousands of dollars in workers' compensation payments has been charged with fraud and grand theft.
Johnny Chavarria, 57, was arrested after insurance investigators alerted the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office that Chavarria allegedly completed the Big Sur Marathon while receiving workers' compensation payments, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.
Chavarria, of Salinas, injured his back while driving a bus for the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District and filed his injury claim in June 2003. He began receiving workers' compensation payments after being rated "temporary total disabled," and he continued receiving payments until he returned to work in July 2004, the District Attorney's Office said.
"You can't run marathons if you are not well enough to drive a Metro bus," District Attorney Bob Lee told the Sentinel. "It's not just wrong; it's criminal."
Chavarria's road races definitely were not therapy recommended by the driver's physicians, according to the District Attorney's Office. "We talked to a couple of his doctors, and they don't think running 10Ks or marathons is good" for rehabilitating his injury, Lee told the Sentinel.
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel.com